Culinary Arts – Vail Valley Instructors

Meet the people who shape your future

Todd RymerFaculty Chef Instructor Todd Rymer

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Education: Florida International University, Masters of Science in Hotel and Food Service Management; New College of the University of South Florida, Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies; Robert Morgan Vocational Technical Institute, Certified in Cooking and Baking.

Work History: Chef Instructor Todd Rymer worked almost 20 years as a cook and chef in numerous restaurants and hotels in Miami. After he earned his Master’s Degree, he became a Chef Instructor for Johnson & Wales University and then moved to Vail as Director of Johnson & Wales University’s Vail Campus in 1995. Four years later, he became director of culinary education at Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute, Edwards.

Philosophy: Chef Instructor Rymer is passionate about sustainability and pushes students beyond facts and figures. He led the charge in developing the Sustainable Cuisine program and was instrumental in creating the school gardens. Rather than telling people what not to eat or do, he believes solutions to the many problems of our food system can be solved simply by offering delicious alternatives that are healthy for people, the planet and our prosperity.

Contact: trymer@coloradomtn.edu970-569-2920

Chef Instructor Shawn SmithPhoto of Chef Instructor Shawn Smith

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Education: Kendall College School of Culinary Arts

Work History: Chef Instructor Smith worked in Chicago’s finest restaurants and hotels before landing in the Vail Valley in 1997. Once here, he developed a passion for pastry and started his own business—Mountain Flour. His primary focus is wedding cakes but Shawn also bakes desserts for many local restaurants and sells ice cream/gelato that is distributed in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. Shawn has been teaching at CMCCI since 2007.

Philosophy: Any student that takes a class from Chef Instructor Smith will tell you just how great he is! Fun and learning go hand-in-hand in his classroom. Shawn is limitless in his knowledge and has a way helping each and every student connect with the food they are working with.

Chef Instructor Danielle SteinerPhoto of Danielle Steiner

Hometown: Gypsum, Colorado

Education: University of Colorado Boulder
Colorado Institute of Art

Work History: Chef Instructor Steiner has been working in the food service industry in the Vail Valley for the past 17 years. She has worked many positions from Restaurant Manager to Executive Chef. Currently, she is a purveyor for Northeast Seafood as well as teaching at CMC.

Philosophy: Dani is what students and friends call her. She is the guru of all things restaurant and finds ease in both front of house and back of house restaurant operations. Her strength is helping students realize that customer service is the most important skill in a restaurant. You have no legs to stand on if you can’t maintain healthy relationships with staff, purveyors and customers.


Chef Instructor Felicia KalaluhiPhoto of Felicia Kalaluhi

Hometown: East Setauket, New York

Education: Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park

Work History: Chef Instructor Kalaluhi came to Vail from her job as Executive Pastry Chef at The Garden City Hotel. After working at The Lodge at Vail and The Cascade, she struck out on her own and opened Cornerstone Chocolates and Confections. Also of note, she competes yearly in the CASA Gingerbread House Competition and has built a walk-in gingerbread house for kids at The Four Seasons Hotel.

Philosophy: Chef Instructor Kalaluhi is endless. She is industry driven and pushes students to find real-life situations in the classroom environment. She is a craftsman and creator at the highest level and dazzles students with her skills and a few simple ingredients.